Early yesterday morning I learned that a friend and colleague, Al Gurman, had died suddenly of a heart attack on Friday morning, September 6, 2013. I don’t know how old Al was, but I am guessing he was younger than I. In 2009, Al contacted me to write a book chapter for his forthcoming edited book: A Clinical Casebook of Couple Therapy. I was delighted and pleased to be asked. Al had edited numerous volumes in couple and family therapy, and to be included in one of his books was indeed an honor. The book is available and is a gem; my chapter (co-authored with Kathie Crocket) is entitled: El Tigre, El Tigre: A Story of Narrative Practice. See: http://www.amazon.com/Clinical-Casebook-Couple-Therapy-Gurman/dp/1462509681/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1378750037&sr=8-1&keywords=clinical+casebook+of+couple+therapy+gurman.
I subsequently served with Al on the Family Process Institute Board and worked closely with him on a committee for young writers. I learned that Al was committed to bringing forth new talent in the field of family and couple therapy and research. His insight and clarity was invaluable to our daunting task of weaning over 80 applications into 10 candidates for our new writer’s workshop.
There has been much written about Al on the AFTA (American Family Therapy Academy) listserv as well as the Family Process Institute listserv. I will share something here from my friend (and Al’s dear friend) Froma Walsh: “As so many colleagues have noted, Al was extraordinary in his vision and leadership throughout the evolution of the field of couple and family therapy. Just as he coached his son’s soccer teams, in his wisdom he saw the advances in our field as a team effort, and brought out the best in his colleagues and students, and in his volumes, he brought together the best work at the cutting edge. Despite his brilliance and remarkable accomplishments, he never sought glory for himself, and never proclaimed any superior knowledge or truth; He was rigorous and insightful, yet always open and curious, to consider many perspectives and to expand our horizons: Al was both generative and generous.”
Her ending statement, which I share 100%: “It is often said that when we lose someone we cherish, we carry with us their best — we’ll need to step up our game to carry forward all he has given us.”